Why a plan to cut pollution is making people across England so angry


A slew of initiatives from local councils have meant drivers being moved off residential streets and on to busier main roads. But while many residents support the schemes, the measures have provoked protests

As England entered lockdown in the spring, there was a huge switch away from public transport and into private cars. The government, fearing gridlock and spikes in pollution, acted quickly to allocate powers and funding to local councils for implementing traffic restrictions. The move has resulted in 200 schemes being drawn up, the majority of which are in London where traffic is often most dense. But they have not been universally welcomed, with some residents reacting with fury.

The Guardian’s Peter Walker tells Rachel Humphreys that these kinds of measures are not new and that while a minority may loudly protest, many more are supportive and will welcome the benefits. Rachel also hears from Jon Burke, a Labour councillor in Hackney, east London, who says the schemes are needed and that electrification of vehicles will not come fast enough to combat the problems of spiralling emissions caused by increased car use.

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